Egypt to US NGOs: License to operate? Denied!

Egypt rejected applications of eight U.S. nongovernmental organizations to operate in the country. Will this start another diplomatic dispute between the two countries?

Licenses were denied because the NGOs’ activities were perceived to violate Egyptian sovereignty, Egypt’s state-owned news agency MENA says. The eight blacklisted organizations include the Coptic Orphans, Seeds of Peace and Carter Center — an election monitoring group led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Voice of America reports.

Coptic Orphans Executive Director Nermien Riad said she does not understand how the organization’s work could undermine Egypt’s national sovereignty. Coptic Oprhans is a Christian organization helping orphaned and poverty-stricken children in Egypt’s poor areas.

Egypt’s crackdown on U.S.-based NGOs strained its relations with the United States, its biggest bilateral donor. Egypt accused American NGOs of illegally receiving foreign funds to foment unrest in the country.

The issue dragged on for months and put annual U.S. aid to Egypt in peril. But in March, senior administration officials said Washington will hand over the full $1.5 billion U.S. aid to Egypt following the lifting of the travel ban on U.S. NGO workers.

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.